Renewal rates continue to climb upward, but there are still many enticing options out there for renters to consider as their lease term comes to an end. New trends in the multifamily market are raising the bar on what an apartment can offer. Amenities are becoming more crucial, as is the involvement and connection between tenants and staff. When it comes time for a resident to decide whether or not to renew their existing lease, you need to remind them why they want to stay, and you can do that quite easily with some tools you already have on hand: Your onsite employees.
Your property’s greatest asset in resident retention is in the personnel who help run things day-to-day, and no group stands to have a bigger impact on tenant satisfaction than the maintenance team. You’ve hired the best folks to care for and maintain your property and its residents, so why not capitalize on it? Here are some tips to incorporate your maintenance staff in your renewal goals to help incentivize your residents to sign a new lease.
Communication Comes First
Start by making your maintenance staff a part of resident retention efforts from day one. Introduce prospects and new tenants to the crew, give background on how long they’ve been caring for the property, and make sure they know that you are always there to respond to their needs. Online services for work order submission and resident information can help keep the lines of communication open after move-in day.
Be There When They Need You
Communication is a great foundation for any relationship, however it doesn’t end there. Residents cite the maintenance staff’s responsiveness to their service requests as the number one factor in considering to renew their lease, beyond even the courteousness of the people themselves. This means it is crucial that residents trust that their maintenance issues will be addressed promptly and professionally if you want them to consider leasing with you for another year. Responsiveness also goes a long way to build a sense of community and even loyalty among your residents.
Make the Home its own Incentive
Beyond offering a competitive renewal rate, many properties are offering appealing incentives that go beyond the traditional rent concession—things like gift cards, certificates for horseback riding or even small home appliances. Behind monetary offers, residents are most excited about community promotions (free or reduced parking, for example) and unit upgrades. A lease renewal event is a great time to incorporate unit improvements to encourage a tenant to stay.
Don’t stop at the typical carpet cleaning, either. Why not offer a choice of paint colors for a hip accent wall or an upgrade to the existing appliances? How about a complementary house cleaning or a “green energy” package, in which all unit fixtures are upgraded to more energy efficient CFL bulbs? These types of upgrades can end up costing much less than monetary gifts or rental concessions and they also add value to the rental unit when it becomes available again in the future.
The way in which you’ve cared for the resident’s needs throughout their current term is the largest factor in whether or not they choose to renew, followed by the condition of the apartment itself. When you compare the costs of routine maintenance needs against the much larger costs of making a unit ready for a new move-in, it makes sound financial sense to keep a happy renter right where they are.